Completely royalty free -- Totally royalty-free music free of all strings to performance collection societies
This page details those of our composers who are not members of any royalty
collection society, and which music tracks are totally royalty free in all senses
of the word.
First, we would like to try to explain some of the complexities of music use
and royalty-free music. We've tried to make this as short as we could:
General royalty-free music:
Most music composers and publishers are members of various composers' rights
societies. Some societies oversee and look after the composers' works with
regards to physical manufacturing of products that contain their music. These
rights are called "Mechanical rights". Other societies
oversee and look after the composers' works with regards to broadcasting and
public performance of their music. These rights are called "Performance
When you find music listed as "royalty-free" on this web site and
other web sites, it usually means that the composer and publisher of the music
are not members of any society that oversees their mechanical rights.
This means that you can freely use their music on DVD, CDROM and any other
physical object that contains their music, and you can have these CD/DVD's
manufactured in a factory, without paying any fee to any collection society
At Shockwave-Sound.com ALL music is FREE of mechanical rights.
We do not work with any composers who are members of any mechanical rightssociety. This means that ALL the music on our site is royalty-free
for use on DVD, CDROM etc.
But many composers are members of a Performing RightsOrganization(PRO). These PRO's look after
the composers and publishers rights to receive royalties when their music
is broadcast or played in public. It means that anybody
who broadcasts their music, or plays it in public (for example, at a trade
show, or in a sports arena), need to obtain a license from their country's
performance royalty collection society. In most cases, this does not affect
you (our customer) in any way, because the broadcasters already have this
license and therefore no additional fees are actually payable by anybody.
For example, you buy a track from us by a composer who is a PRO member. You
use the music on a DVD film and manufacture 5,000 copies of that film. No
problem, the composer isn't member of any mechanical rights society, so there
are no fees to pay for this. A year later, your film ends up getting broadcast
on BBC, or perhaps on YouTube. Now, the composer will receive a small payment
for this. This payment is however just taken from the already paid, annual
license that the BBC and YouTube pays to the performance rights organization.
No extra money is payable by anybody. Nobody has incurred any extra expenses,
because the license money was already paid by the broadcaster, as a large
So, whilst the music is not entirely free of all strings, it is
still fair to call it royalty-free because neither the producer, nor the broadcaster
(who already has an annual license) has to pay any royalties.
The only time an actual additional expense would come into this situation
would be if you decide to broadcast the music yourself, and you don't
already have a broadcasting license. For example, at a concert or at some
kind of venue that doesn't already have a PRO license. Some countries also
consider telephone music-on-hold to be a "broadcast" - other countries
As far as trade shows or sports events, here you would expect the venue/hall
to already have a license from their country's performance royalty organization,
but you may want to check that.
Recently, the PRS in the United Kingdom have deemed that a person or company
in the UK that uses music on a UK web site is classed as a 'broadcaster'.
And, as a broadcaster of music, if you want to use any music that is composed
by a composer who is a member of a performance rights society, you need a
license from the PRS. The license typically costs £50 per year. This
applies only to UK persons and companies with UK web sites.
Wherever you look for "royalty-free music", be it on the internet
or in traditional production music libraries, most of the music you'll find
is in this category. The composers are not members of any mechanical rights
society, but they are members of a performance rights society, and it would
be fair to call their music "general royalty-free".
Completely royalty-free music / Non-PRO music:
There are some composers who are not a member of any kind of composers' society
what so ever. They are not members of any mechanical rights
society, so their music can be manufactured on DVD/CD etc. without paying
any mechanical license fees to any organisation. And they are also not
members of any performance rights organization, so their music can be freely
broadcast and played in public without paying any broadcasting license to
any collection society what so ever. Their music can be said to be "completely
royalty free" - also known as "Non-PRO music", "PRS
free music", "GEMA free music" and so on.
If you are going to need music that is entirely Non-PRO, you can choose to
Search or Browse only Non-PRO music using our website. When you browse a music
genre (by clicking on a genre in the list of music genres/styles on the right-hand
side of our site), on top of the result list you can see an option to display
"PRO and Non-PRO tracks" or "Non-PRO
Tracks Only". Click "Non-PRO tracks only" and your
displayed track list will be updated to show only music that is "completely
If you want to Search by keywords or track titles etc.,
and you want to display only Non-PRO music, then go to the Advanced
Search page, and you'll be able to see the "PRO and Non-PRO"
or "Non-PRO tracks only" option there.
A question / answer from a customer about PRO / Non-PRO tracks
"So, are you saying that with the PRO tracks, I would have to pay
twice?? Both to Shockwave-Sound and to SIAE??
I'm sorry, but this is really complicated!" (* This customer was
from Italy, so her local performing rights society is SIAE. If you're in Germany,
this will be GEMA, if you're in the UK it will be PRS, if you're in Sweden
it will be STIM etc.)
And our answer:
Don't feel bad, because music licensing really is quite complicated. You
are not the only one who thinks so. But I will try to explain.
Yes, there are a few cases in which you would have to pay both us and the
performing rights organization in your country, if you use PRO music. This
is because you are buying some rights from us (the right to put the music
in your film, the right to manufacture CD's / DVD's that contain our music),
and some other rights you would have to buy from SIAE* (the right to broadcast
the music or play it in a public place). (* This customer was in Italy, so
for her it's SIAE but if you're in a different country, it will be a different
organization, for example Germany: GEMA. United Kingdom: PRS.)
In a music track there are typically three "rights", three different
parts of the copyright:
Sync rights = The rights to use the music and put it into a media project,
such as a film or a video game.
Mechanical rights = The rights to produce CD's, DVD's or other physical
objects that contain the music.
Performing rights = The rights to broadcast the music on TV or radio, or
to play it in a public place (such as a restaurant, cinema, etc.)
As you have noticed, on our site we have music composed by PRO members (PRO
tracks) and we have some music composed by composers who are not PRO members
With the PRO tracks, you are buying the Sync- and Mechanical rights from
us. But not the Performing rights. You need to buy the Performing rights from
the PRO in your country. In your case, since you are in Italy, this is SIAE.
With the Non-PRO music, you buy all three rights from us. When you buy the
track from us, you have in fact bought the Sync-, the Mechanical- and the
Performing rights. That's the only purchase you'll ever have to make. Neither
SIAE nor anybody else will ask any extra money from you, no matter how you
use the music.
Depending on what you are going to use the music for, you may need only one
of these rights, or you may need two of these rights, or you may need all
three. If you are only going to make a film and put it on YouTube, you really
only need the Sync rights. You don't need the performing rights, because YouTube
is the broadcaster and they already have performing rights. They
are the broadcaster, not you.
Or maybe you are going to make a film about your local town and make 1,000
DVD's of that film. You want to put our music in your film. Then you need
the Sync- rights (to put our music in your film) and you need the Mechanical
rights (to manufacture DVD's that contain the film that contains our music).
But you don't need the Performing rights, because you have no plans to broadcast
this music on TV or Radio, or to play the film in a public place such as a
restaurant etc. So... in this case, you would need only the Sync- and Mechanical
Remember also that existing broadcasters, such as TV stations, radio stations,
cinemas, YouTube, etc. already have a Performing right license. So, if you
are going to make a film which may possibly be broadcast on national Italian
television later, you don't need the Performing rights. It's the TV station
that needs the performing license. They are the broadcaster, not you. And
they already have that license. All "real" broadcasting companies,
TV stations, radio stations etc. already have performing licenses from the
PRO in their country, which they pay for as one big payment each year. So
for them, it doesn't matter if the music is PRO or Non-PRO. They have already
paid their large, annual sum for their performing license, so they already
have the Performing rights covered. Which again means that you don't need
to buy the performing rights from us.
So... you see, whether or not you need Non-PRO Tracks, or just any tracks
from our site, depends on how you are going to use the music. If you are going
to play the music in public, or on your website, then you need the Performing
rights. But if you are not going to play the music in public, or on a website,
then you don't need the Performing rights. And if you don't need the performing
rights, then you can use any tracks from our site.
(c) All text on this page and the entire rest of the site
is copyrighted to Shockwave-Sound.com